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"The Great Valerio"

Owned by Richard Dilly
Bolter # 11342
Bondy, France

01 January 2009 Update

From Richard:

My truck, "The Great Valerio," is a 1941 GMC cc152, original 3/4-ton. I think it arrived in this country in 1946 courtesy of the Marshall Plan. It was transformed with a 1951 Chevrolet 1-ton in the 1960's by his previous owner, René Boulard, who is now on his cloud and continues his mechanics with the Angel's GM cars.

I can't tell you the first story, or the name of the first owner (in 1946). When René bought the GMC in the 1960's, he wanted to use it for his old metals business. This activity continued occasionly with René for his garage. When René stopped the activity, he decided to take holidays with his truck and he made the updates with components from a 1951 Chevrolet 1-ton, which gave the truck it's current configuration.

The challenge was: Can the truck go to the French Riviera, towing a large boat on a double axle trailer, via the Napoleon Road (called when this man decided to attack the Italians in 1800??? ) .... through the Alps ?!?!

Terrible! I saw the boat. It's a kind of liberty ship. After reflexions, I don't know if I had more regard for Hercule's job or Mac Candless.

The tranformations: René kept the GMC 3/4-ton's frame, body and 228 engine. He used the front and rear axles with brakes and transmission from the 1951 Chevrolet 1-ton. At the time in France, it was impossible to get a 4:11 pumpkin. René adapted a Bendix brake depression mastervac and a French (Sinpar) mechanic 2-speed multiplicator (1 long and 1 short combination for the 4 speeds) between the transmission and rear axle, and he adapted two large tires on rear: 750 x 17. From this, you have a kind of honest speed on hightways.

I found by mail a 4:11 pumpkin from Tom Myers, and the "liberty ship" (AKA the Slow Boat To China...) took three months to get it to Paris (after a small tourism in a German port... )

Now with "Arnold Multiplicator", 4:11, and 750 x 17, I have Saturn V power on highways but ... the 228 is alway a 228 -- I don't like to have an energic running (Translation -- It doesn't exactly have head-snapping, blistering accelleration...).

Recently I replaced the head gasket, lapped the valves, replaced the front wheel bearings, changed the brake shoes and wheel cylinders, installed a new radiator, ect.

This is a very good truck. It's easy to drive and I often I find small jobs for it like transporting wood or vegetables (I am a horticultural teacher).

René said (I can't confirm) there are only two GMC's like this imported in France. The others are Chevrolets.

René Boulard's life, in a few words -- René was an amazing person, with sometime a hard personality. He was totaly mechanics!!! Always in the méchanics. He didn't speak French, just Chevrolet -- sometime Bugatti, Delage or Delahaye. On Sunday he spoke Hotchkiss. In the air, there are no airplanes, but only DC3. It is difficult to explain to him that there are Constellations sometime . He was born in 1916 in Paris, and began work and learning in 1933 at Duvivier Garage (Chevrolet importer in Paris). He fell in love with the boss's daughter (secret and platonic, though) who had a '39 Chevy. In 1943 he was denounced by a little chief of Duvivier to the Germans and sent to Germany for obligatory work in the Messerschmit factory under the B-17s. (STO, service du travail obligatoire) but escaped and lived clandestinely with a job in a small, all-marques garage for two years. He was hunted often by Gestapo. After the war, life was hard, but he started over and even opened his own garage, his brother's wife: Lucien Bruneau --and it was an terrible twins!

In 1951, he found the 1939 coach ..... (mine now).

Rene is now on his cloud with his wife and his son. He was my good friend for about 20 years. Here is a picture of us with the '41 GMC.

I have more history, perhaps a few vintage photos about the GMC, with René's daugthers and I'll inform you.

For you, some photos of my other cars and small trucks:

(What a wonderful testiment to René. And what an extensive "Alternative Gallery"! As always, it's good to hear from you! A Votre Sante dans l'ane nouveau, bonhomme! ~ Jean et "La Comptesse Pegoise")

11 January 2005

From Richard:

Hello. This is my GMC 1941-? which arrived in France by "le plan Marshall " and with a lot of exterior transformations (it's not me!). Here we are hauling a load of wood.

This GMC Art Deco truck had 64 years of life ... and labor. Here's another good photo.

In holidays now! It stays with me in the village called "La Roche Jaune" between woods and the Atlantic, near Paimpol in Brittany, with his sister the 1939 Chevrolet Master Coach and the 1963 "terrible and dangerous" Corvair coupé.


Richard Dilly


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